Monday, March 24, 2008


Shit shit shit.
You think you are doing so well, and then something happens.
There is a mom at Liam's school, who I don't know very well, and she was expecting her second baby at the end of this month. She always seemed very nice and I didn't know her very well and suddenly I just thought, hey, why not try to get OVER the fact that you are sickly envious of every pregnant woman you see (because you assume their baby will live and yours didn't) and just do something really, really nice?
So I did.
I just walked the walk, and acted the act, and I organized twelve families who are going to bring them dinners after their baby is born. Hey, I reasoned, this is a really good idea, because unlike a basket of baby clothes, no matter what the outcome, it can still be done. I was feeling so, so proud of myself for being outgoingly friendly and optimistic to this mom.
Well, guess what?
She had her baby on Friday.
She is healthy, 8 lbs, 15 oz, quick easy labor.
She is named Charlotte.

Why does this affect me SO much?
It's just a name, you could say.
I got to give her a name. I didn't get to give her milk, or a clean diaper, or a nice warm bed to sleep in. All I gave her was a NAME.
I have been waiting for this to happen, inevitably some other woman I know would give birth to a girl and give her the most beautiful girl's name EVER. But I just wasn't prepared this time. I didn't think that it would be the time that I went right out and did something awesome that my dead daughter's name would show up on some other pink-faced, squinched little baby girl.

To this mom's credit, she does not know about my Charlotte. Yet.
How could I not say something? At the very least I will have to explain my behaviour when I can't lean over her little carrier and coo at her like all the other moms.
The thing that scares me the most is my very, very strong instinct to just run, to never look at the baby, to plug my ears every time somebody asks her big sister Lily, "How is baby Charlotte?" I don't feel like I am about to burst into tears, instead, I feel terrorized, like I can't ever look at the mom or the older daughter again, like I am afraid to go near them because I might see the baby, or hear her name, or her cry, or see her little chest rise and fall.
And the other adults? To the big sister? They call her baby Charlotte. Just like all the 2,3,4 year olds in my kids' lives call the baby on the wall, and in my locket, baby Charlotte.

My heart is breaking. I feel like I am made of plastiscene clay. I am nearly immobile. Is it really only a name?
Is this really about the name? Or is it maybe more?

This is a big burden to carry, and I am sorry to my little daughter as I say these words, but it does take a lot of energy to be a parent to a child who has died. Sometimes it feels like too much.

1 comment:

Awake said...

Oh hon, its only natural to be affected. I'm thinking of you.

Do you have an email address? If you don't want to post it, you can email me your address to the email I use for my blog ( No, I'm not stalking you, there's just something I'd like to share with you privately before I would comment it here for others to read. If not, no big deal.